One three-game series into the season, the Indians are facing the same concern they had prior to opening day: the state of their rotation. In losing two of three games to the White Sox, Indians pitchers gave up 24 runs.
Eighteen of those 24 runs were given up by the Indians' starting pitchers, and that includes a very strong performance by Justin Masterson in the third game, a 7-1 Indians' victory. Masterson gave up one run in seven innings.
It was the work of the Indians' Nos. 1 and 2 starters that caused the most concern in the series. No. 1 Fausto Carmona gave up 10 runs and lasted only three innings on opening day, and No. 2 Carlos Carrasco gave up seven runs in 6 2/3 innings. The Indians lost those two games, 15-10 and 8-3.
In the first five innings of the three games in the series the Indians were outscored, 20-3, by the White Sox. They were losing, 14-0, after four innings in Carmona's start and, 5-0, after two innings in Carrasco's start.
Before Masterson's start in the third game, manager Manny Acta said he told Masterson, "Just help us win the first inning." Acta said it jokingly, but only half jokingly.
Falling far behind early in games was a distressing trend.
The rotation was viewed as the weak link of the team coming into the season, and nothing that happened in the first two games of that series changed that view.
The rotation will be further tested starting Tuesday as the Nos. 4 and 5 starters pitch the first two games of a series against Boston, another formidable offensive club.
The Indians' offense actually was quite good in the Chicago series, scoring 20 runs and batting .318. "We are a much better offensive team than we were last year," Acta said. "We just need our pitchers to give us a chance."
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